About 652,000 Americans age 12 or older were addicted to heroin in 2017. While other drugs (cocaine and alcohol, for instance), are dangerous and addictive, heroin poses unique dangers both in terms of overall effects and ease of access to the drug.
Read on to learn exactly what is heroin. Find out why it’s so dangerous to your body and society in general.
What Exactly Is Heroine?
Heroin is made from morphine, which is a natural derivative of opium poppy plants. The fact that heroin itself is an opioid makes it a uniquely dangerous drug due to the opioid epidemic currently sweeping the United States. Prescribed opioids can easily morph into a full-blown street heroin addiction.
The Immediate Effects Of Heroin
The most common way to use heroin is to shoot it into one’s veins through a needle. That being said, this drug can be sniffed, smoked, or snorted.
People who have tried heroin describe the immediate effects of it as a sort of euphoric rush. This rush, also known as a high, can last a few minutes or longer, depending on the amount of heroin used.
The danger of using heroin is that this immediate high wears off, leaving the user to crave more. Heroin is very addictive, and it is an easy drug on which to overdose.
Blending Heroin With Other Drugs
When heroin alone no longer achieves enough of high, hard users combine it with other drugs. A Speedball, for instance, is a blend of heroin and crack cocaine.
the high from a speedballing session is at least twice as intense as a regular heroin rush. The mixed use of heroin and cocaine carries an increased chance of a fatal overdose. It can also induce a heart attack in an otherwise healthy individual.
Signs Of A Heroin Overdose
Injecting or otherwise using heroin slows the respiratory system. Therefore, a heroin overdose can result in fatal respiratory arrest. Shallow breathing, a lack of responsiveness or lethargy, and lips that suddenly turn purple or blue are all signs of a heroin overdose.
An overdose on any kind of opioid requires immediate medical attention. A trained paramedic or doctor must treat this kind of overdose with Narcan (also known as naloxone). Narcan counteracts the damage to the user’s respiratory system and blocks any other potentially fatal side effects.
Treatment For Heroin Addiction
Now that you understand what heroin is, it’s time to act. If someone you know is addicted to heroin, the most effective treatment is in-patient substance abuse rehab. For more information on how to get treatment for yourself or someone else, contact us, or find out more through our resources.
Heroin is a dangerous drug, whether it is being used by a first-time user or by a long-time addict. Even during a first use of heroin, a fatal overdose is a possibility. Don’t hesitate to inquire about treatment today.